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The top 25 movies that have ever screened at TIFF

TIFF celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1976, the festival has screened many thousands of movies including numerous Oscar winners and all time classics - so how do you come up with a list of the top movies to ever screen at TIFF?

I put this challenge to TIFF's current slate of programmers who decided to use whatever criteria they saw fit - some of these films were so-called life-changers while others have stood the test of time. Their selections are a reminder of what makes the festival great - the vast range of cinema we get to experience in the city every September.

For your consideration, here are the top movies that have ever screened at TIFF.

12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen, 2013)
Chiwetel Ejiofor is a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in this Oscar winning film based on a true story. Over the next twelve years, he struggles in the face of cruelty to survive and regain his freedom.

Bad Timing (dir. Nicolas Roeg, 1980)
Art Garfunkel plays a psychoanalyst suspected of having a hand in the attempted suicide of his lover. As Harvey Keitel (the detective) interrogates him, we start to see the events that led to her overdose.



Blissfully Yours (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002)
This 2002 film from Thai director Apichcatpong Weerasethakul (whose film Cemetery of Splendour is in TIFF this year) follows the love affair between a Burmese immigrant and a Thai factory worker.

A Chinese Ghost Story 2 (dir. Siu-Tung Ching, 1990)
In this manic concoction of cinematic delight, a tax collector arrives in a small town and spends the night in a haunted temple where he falls in love with a beautiful ghost.

Chop Shop (Ramin Bahrani, 2007)
The celebrated film follows a 12-year old orphan working in a junkyard in Queens trying to make a better life for himself and his sixteen-year-old sister.

Chronicle of a Disappearance (dir. Elia Suleiman, 1996)
Elia Suleiman's first film sees him play himself during a series of vignettes telling the story of his return to Israel after a long absence.

La Cienaga (dir. Lucrecia Martel, 2001)
From writer-director Lucrecia Martel, La Cienaga focuses on a bourgeouis family in a provincial town of Argentina.

City of God (dir. Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
The difficult, but beloved, City of God tells the story of two boys who grow up together in a violent Rio de Janero neighbourhood and whose lives veer in drastically different directions.

Colossal Youth (dir. Pedro Costa, 2006)
An immigrant who has been left by his wife, spends his days in a low-income apartment in Lisbon trying to connect with the other lost souls around him.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee, 2000)
The beautiful Oscar winner from Ang Lee about the unrequired romance between two warriors who are trying to track down a stolen sword.

Eloge de l'amour (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 2001)
From the renowned French filmmaker, Godard's two-part story that traces, from the present to the past, the encounters between an author and a young lawyer working their way through the artistic process.

Harlan County U.S.A. (dir. Barbara Kopple, 1976)
The classic documentary recounting the story of a violent miner strike in Kentucky in 1973.

I Am Love (dir. Luca Guadagnino, 2009)
A woman who followed love from Russia to Milan finds that years later, as a mother of three, she is feeling unsatisfied until a younger man catches her attention.

India Song (dir. Marguerite Duras, 1975)
The story of a French diplomat's wife living in India, who tries to cure the boredom of her day-to-day life with lovers.

Iron Ladies of Liberia (dir. Daniel Junge, Siatta Scott Johnson, 2007)
A documentary with an inside look at the Liberia's first female President first year in office.

Jeanne Dielman (dir. Chantal Akerman, 1975)
A widow spends her days following the same routines in her apartment, until something new shakes up her life.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (dir. Zacharias Kunuk, 2006)
The Journal of Knud Rasmussen is a Canadian-Danish film telling the story of an Inuit shaman and the pressures on his traditional life in the 1920s.

Platform (dir. Jia Zhang-ke, 2000)
Set in Shanxi Province throughout the 1980s, Platform features a group of theatre performers as their performances reflect the changes in China during the course of that decade.

The Princess Bride (dir. Rob Reiner, 1987)
This classic film portrays the fairy tale a grandfather reads his son as he lies sick in bed, featuring a princess, a pirate, a giant, and true love.

Reservoir Dogs (dir. Quentin Tarantino, 1992)
The film that introduced Quentin Tarantino to the world, Reservoir Dogs features a group of criminals trying to determine which of them is a secret police informant.

Tabu (dir. Miguel Gomes, 2012)
A retired Portuguese woman teams up with a neighbourhood maid to seek out answers about her past life in Africa.

The Turin Horse (dir. Bela Tarr, 2011)
The story of a farmer trying to survive his trying existence, and forced to confront the looming death of the horse that provides his living.

Undefeated (dir. Dan Lindsay & T.J. Martin, 2011)
A documentary following the revitalization of an underfunded football team under the leadership of a new coach.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (dir. Pedro Almodovar, 1988)
Pedro Almodovar's beloved dark comedy following a series of women whose lives keep intersecting unexpectedly.

YiYi: A One and a Two (dir. Edward Yang, 2000)
A story from the perspectives of various members of a Taipei family as they question the meaning of life.

What's your most beloved TIFF movie of all time? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @alxhuls for all the latest on TIFF 15, including snap reviews. Top image of Reservoir Dogs.


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